How To Spot True Document Management Software

When shopping around for document management software, you’ll see plenty of services and applications advertising themselves as a document management solution. However, it’s important to distinguish what is actual document management software and what’s just an online storage solution.

A big misconception about document management software is that it’s just a means to store and organize files, similar to a common file explorer interface with cloud storage.

While it’s true that document management can be a centralized place to store documents in the cloud, its purpose goes beyond being a convenient storage solution. A true document management solution takes advantage of having a business’s documents located in a digital environment by introducing automation and intelligent organization tools. The tools does not just change how we interact with documents, but how we do the work that created or was created by those documents.

There are some essential features that document management software should have to indicate if it’s truly a solution that will benefit your business in multiple ways.

Intelligent Organization

A common term found when discussing document management is optical character recognition (OCR). It’s technology that allows computers to identify printed text on a document – usually on PDFs or other image files. Document managements use OCR to translate the image of text into usable data for the computer. This tool is essential for document management, especially solutions that are optimized to help businesses go paperless.

OCR allows document management to conduct full-text searches. In a normal file interface, you’re limited to searching for files by their name, dates, or a handful of other factors. Document management with full-text search allows you to search for files using any text found within the document, no matter what type of file it is. One of document management’s goals is to eliminate many of the time-consuming tasks we have to deal with, including spending too much time trying to locate lost files.

As mentioned earlier, document management is meant to save you time by streamlining your most redundant processes and making your job overall more efficient. Just as OCR helps you retrieve documents, it’s also used to make filing documents just as effortless. Introducing automation rules allows an advanced document management system to carry out actions when certain conditions are met, including when certain types of documents are uploaded.


Zonal is a type of OCR that identifies the text within predefined fields on standard forms. It does this with the use of document templates. Simply put, the system can identify what type of document is being uploaded, and can identify what kind of information is printed on it.

Say for a simple tax form, the system will recognize fields such as first name, last name, address, employer, etc. The system can then use that context to automatically file the document based on previously established rules. When a CPA uploads a new form from a client, the system recognizes the client’s name and will route it to their folder. No need to dig through filing cabinets to find their folder. If it’s a new client, the system is capable of automatically creating, naming and populating a folder for future documents.

Document management allows you to automate just about any document process. Common processes include getting approvals. You can create workflows that move documents to different people for them to perform different actions. If you need approval on an invoice, you can send it on a workflow which will route it to the authorized person you need approval from.

The system will route the document to different places depending on if the document was approved and rejected. Some advanced systems can use the text within documents to create automation rules. For example, if an invoice has a dollar amount above a certain threshold, it will send it to a different person instead.

Getting Work Done Smarter

These are just a handful of the things good document management can do. It goes beyond simple storage and is stacked with a suite of features meant to boost efficiency and reduce the time spent on tedious tasks and more time on real productivity. A few more examples of good document management features:

  • Role-based permissions: Document management can be beneficial to everyone in the company, but there are certain documents that not everyone should be privy to accessing. Role-based permissions allow you to lock out certain users from accessing parts of the system.
  • Governance: In industries where document retention is strict and compliance is a constant concern, governance allows you to effectively attach a timer to certain document types which will then purge them from your system once they’ve met the retention requirement.
  • Secure file sharing: When your business requires you to share documents with sensitive information with outside parties like clients and partners, email attachments are not secure enough. Instead, a secure file-sharing portal allows you to stay in control of your documents and uses encryption to protect them from malicious parties.
  • Folder templates: Another time-saving feature is the ability to create templates for the common folder structures you use most. The best templates allow you to also attach security preferences like permissions and automation rules. Features like these make it so you don’t have to repeat the work of setting up complicated folder structures every time you need it.

True document management transforms how you do work. By introducing simple automation tools into the document process, you’ll find that you’ll have more resources to direct to growing the business rather than trying to keep ahead of paperwork.

Author Bio: Andreas Rivera is a technology writer with experience in both reviewing and marketing tech services and products. His areas of expertise include writing about B2B, SaaS companies and how they best address the pain points of businesses. Since early 2019, he has been the Marketing Content Writer for eFileCabinet and has become well versed in how document management software helps businesses reinvent their manual processes and spur growth.